By Jana Cunningham

Entertainment Arts & Engineering (EAE) at the University of Utah earns the title of the top video game school in the nation with the number one ranking for its graduate program and number two for its undergraduate program by The Princeton Review, which released the rankings today.

EAE group

EAE earns the title of the top video game school in the nation with the number one ranking for its graduate program and number two for its undergraduate program by The Princeton Review Photo Credit: Entertainment Arts & Engineering

“This is a proud day for the hard working faculty and staff,” said Robert Kessler, director of EAE. “It’s a validation of the way our students, the community, the industry and the faculty view our programs. Not only are we excited to be named the best graduate video game design program in the world, but it’s the fifth year in a row the undergraduate program has been in the top three.”

This is the second time The Princeton Review has given EAE the top spots, in 2013 the undergraduate program was ranked number one and the graduate program number two, firmly establishing the programs among the best in the country.

“Because of the reputation and quality of the EAE programs, we recruit, attract and admit students who are passionate about succeeding in and ultimately improving the game industry,” said Mark van Langeveld, professor and director of the Game Engineering track. “Our students have received critical acclaim for their work and many are now working for the industries best companies.”

A relatively new program, EAE was formally established in 2007 and currently has 400 undergraduates and 110 graduate students. In 2014, the program awarded bachelor’s degrees to 40 students and master’s degrees to another 30 students, many of whom had already secured jobs before graduation. Students are highly sought after by all local game companies including ChAIR Entertainment, Disney Interactive, Eat Sleep Play, Electronic Arts Salt Lake, React! Games, RED Interactive, Wahoo/NinjaBee and WildWorks as well as the leading international game companies such as Activision/Blizzard, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Microsoft and Zynga.

“Demand for engineers and computer scientists is growing in Utah and nationwide,” said University of Utah President David W. Pershing. “The EAE program provides a highly collaborative, hands-on education that produces skilled graduates ready for the workforce. This program attracts exceptional students and top faculty who lead the industry through their drive and creativity.”

As an interdisciplinary program between the College of Engineering and the College of Fine Arts, students from both disciplines work closely in the challenging and rewarding field of video game design and development. Through these collaborations, students receive an interactive education that prepares them to work effectively in a team environment, an invaluable skill in the video game industry.

“From the first day of classes, we are working in teams,” said Rachel Leiker, a student in the EAE master’s program. “Learning how to communicate ideas effectively, working together to create something amazing for the game and being able to rely on each other for help and feedback has established a work ethic and mentality that people in games look for when seeking future collaborators.”


Students in EAE master’s program created 404Sight, a game about protecting net neutrality Photo Credit: Rachel Leiker

EAE master’s students earn their degrees with curricula that blend three critical types of education, academic game design and theory, discipline-focused professional courses in game production, game art, game engineering or technical art and a studio simulation and project-based experience.

“I chose the EAE program because of the quality of the curriculum. Other schools seem to focus on one discipline, but this program is so flexible and I got to learn everything I wanted and more. Every student, regardless of their focus, participates in design, which has made our game stronger,” added Leiker, one of the developers of 404Sight.

The Princeton Review chose the schools based on a survey it conducted in 2014-15 of 150 institutions offering game design coursework and/or degrees in the United States, Canada and some countries abroad. The company’s 50-question survey asked schools to report on everything from their academic offerings and faculty credentials to their graduates’ starting salaries and employment experience. Among criteria The Princeton Review weighed to make its selections: the school’s curriculum, faculty, facilities, career services and technology.


Jana Cunningham is a communication specialist at University Marketing and Communications. If you have an interesting story idea, email her at jana.cunningham@utah.edu.

Explore government secrets of the past & present

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald, best known for his series in The Guardian detailing classified information about global surveillance programs based on top-secret documents provided by Edward Snowden, will speak at the University of Utah, Tuesday, April 7, 7 p.m. at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts Dumke Auditorium, 410 Campus Center Drive. Tickets are no longer available, but a live stream will be available at http://www.utah.edu/live/.

Greenwald, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who sparked a worldwide debate over freedom of speech, will provide the keynote address during Secrecy Week, a week of events exploring government surveillance in the United States sponsored by the College of Humanities. All events are free and open to the public.

Greenwald’s work on the National Security Agency files was the subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary “CitizenFour,” which follows his encounters with Snowden as he receives classified documents with evidence of illegal invasions of privacy. A screening of the movie will be held as part of Secrecy Week, Monday, April 6, 7 p.m. in the Gould Auditorium of the Marriott Library.

“In the wake of Greenwald’s reporting on Snowden’s revelations, the secrets that our government keeps and knows about its citizens have become one of the major political issues of our time,” said Matthew Potolsky, professor of English at the U and organizer of the event. “Focusing on both broad historical contexts and very current events, Secrecy Week will provide a panoramic view of government secrets past and present.”

The week of events also includes a screening of “Secrecy,” a panel discussion about the legal and political perspectives of government surveillance and a lecture about books that have been banned, forbidden and censored in order to eliminate public consumption at the Marriott Library.

About Glenn Greenwald

A lawyer, journalist and author, Greenwald has written for Salon, The Guardian and contributed to The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The American Conservative, The National Interest, In These Times and was one of the founding editors of The Intercept. His series in The Guardian detailing United States and British global surveillance programs, on which Greenwald worked, along with others, won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Greenwald was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2013 and has been on the New York Times Best Seller list four times. Greenwald currently resides in Brazil.


By Annalisa Purser

The University of Utah hosted nearly 2,000 Latino youth Friday, March 27, for the annual Latinos in Action conference, where they participated in cultural dances and performances, attended workshops ranging from how to professionally interview to learning about the video gaming industry, received thousands of dollars worth of scholarships and heard from the marketing and sales executive for PepsiCo Inc. North America.

Latinos in Action is a Utah-based nonprofit organization dedicated to bridging the educational gap in the Latino community through leadership classes taught at middle and high schools and by facilitating cultural, leadership, service and educational experiences.

Latinos-in-Action-2“Our office is dedicated to connecting the community with promises of higher education by helping young people imagine a bright future for themselves, prepare for success and experience achievement,” said Sandi Pershing, assistant vice president of the U’s Office of Engagement. “We are delighted to open our campus to these students so they can see first-hand the excitement and learning that goes on at a college campus and perhaps see themselves at the U.”

The conference theme, “Professional Me,” focused on the importance of professionalism in all aspects of academic and career life. The keynote speaker, Richard Montañez, director of multicultural sales and community promotions across PepsiCo’s North American divisions, discussed his personal story of perseverance and professionalism — encouraging youth to follow their hearts and take chances in life.

Montañez started his PepsiCo career at Frito-Lay in 1976 as a janitor and today is recognized for creating the Flamin’ Hot line of products, including Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, which influenced future ethnic products and the first Hispanic marketing team for Frito-Lay. He was also influential in developing Hispanic products and marketing promotions for KFC and Taco Bell. Hispanic Lifestyle magazine recognized Montañez as one of the most influential Hispanics in corporate America.

The U’s student chapter of Latinos in Action was heavily involved in planning the daylong conference. Starting in November 2014, the team met weekly in order to secure space, invited faculty and staff to present, gathered more than 100 volunteers and created a video that was shown to the students before the keynote.

“Latinos in Action provided me with the tools to succeed in high school and now as a first-generation college student,” said Victor de Lara, assistant vice president of the U’s student Latinos in Action chapter. “I enjoyed having the next generation of Latinos in Action students on campus because I have been in their shoes and it was exciting to show them the future that awaits.”


Annalisa Purser is a communication specialist at University Marketing and Communications. If you have an interesting story idea, email her at annalisa.purser@utah.edu.


By Melinda Rogers

Calling the next generation of thinkers, creators and entrepreneurs.

You know who you are: You’re that guy spending late nights in your garage tinkering with your latest electronics idea because you know that if great inventors made breakthroughs by taking chances, you can do it to. You’re that woman who sees the world a bit differently —the one your teachers have pegged part dreamer, part prodigy. You might not realize it, but you’re one of the future entrepreneurs of the world, and there’s a new home waiting for you to take the next step.

Introducing Lassonde Studios at the University of Utah, a place where you can live with fellow future game-changers of the world who can push you to think more, to be more, to do more. Lassonde Studios, opening in the fall of 2016, is a place for young visionaries to make the first move into becoming a new class of entrepreneurs.

The 160,000-square-foot building will have a 20,000-square-foot garage on the main floor of the residence hall, complete with 3-D printers, laser-cutters, prototyping tools and company launch space. Above will be four floors of housing, with students allowed to choose between “pods,” lofts and traditional rooms. The open floor plan means student entrepreneurs have access to bouncing ideas off each other at all hours of the day —and an environment that caters to fostering innovation while also completing a traditional education.

This week, Lassonde Studios launched a nationwide search for the “400 best student entrepreneurs,” who will become the first group to live in the state-of-the-art $45 million facility in August 2016. Students are invited to apply to become part of the “Lassonde 400” — a designation that comes with the chance to receive part of up to $3 million in scholarships available to live at the school.

“We are investing in the student experience to make the University of Utah the place to be for aspiring entrepreneurs and to develop skills needed in today’s marketplace,” said Troy D’Ambrosio, executive director of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. “We already have a top-ranked entrepreneurship program, and our new facility will provide an even more unique, immersive experience. We invite students everywhere to grow with us.”

Students can apply online to be a part of the “Lassonde 400.” Applications should be submitted by fall 2015 for students who wish to be a part of the inaugural group moving in to the building in 2016. To apply, students must submit a video, essay or other creative work explaining why they are one of the world’s “400 best student entrepreneurs.”

Students who apply for the 2016-17 school year will be also be eligible for various scholarships, which will be up to $3 million based on merit and need.

The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute began in 2001 through the vision and support of Pierre Lassonde, an alumnus of the University of Utah and successful mining entrepreneur. He has donated $25 million to support the Lassonde Institute and help build the Lassonde Studios.

“We started with a dream to bring together students from all disciplines and backgrounds to live, learn and work together at solving real-life problems,” Lassonde said. “This is the future of education, and we are doing it now.”

“The educational experience at Lassonde is unique to higher education institutions,” said Taylor Randall, dean of the David Eccles School of Business.

“Our vision is to become the best place in the country for student entrepreneurs,” said Randall. “We already have a thriving innovation community, and our new building will bring everything together in one place. It will be the place where students from all majors and backgrounds come together to live and create.”

To learn more, visit: lassonde.utah.edu/studios.


Melinda Rogers is a communication specialist at University Marketing and Communications. If you have an interesting story idea, email her at melinda.rogers@utah.edu.


This article originally appeared in Algorithms for Innovation.

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 10.28.58 AM
Six months. That’s how long patients suffering with chronic, and sometimes debilitating pain, were told to wait at our headache clinic. “Let’s face it, people in pain can be painful to treat, especially for time-strapped primary care providers,” says headache specialist Susan Baggaley, “Patients come in for a physical and say, ‘Oh, and by the way, I also have splitting headaches.’” The path of least resistance for providers, who on average receive three hours of headache training in medical school, is to write a prescription and recommend that patients get in line, a very long line, at the headache clinic. Desperate to help alleviate pain, providers often prescribe opiate drugs, which are not only addictive, but can also worsen migraine headaches.

The seriousness of the situation was not lost on the small staff at the headache clinic. For years a solution had eluded them. Headache is considered an epidemic and neurologists are in short supply.


Headache Clinic staff members Karly Pippitt, assistant professor of family and preventive medicine and adjunct assistant professor of neurology; K.C. Brennan, assistant professor of neurology and Susan K. Baggaley, vice-chair of clinical operations for neurology

When migraine researcher K.C. Brennan received an email announcing a round of “Lean Projects” last fall, he and Baggaley quickly signed up. The six-week process improvement course paired them with a “value engineer” and gave them structure and a deadline. It also opened up access to system resources they’d never had before. They queried the data warehouse to see how headache patients were moving through the system and after studying 50,000 encounters coded as “undiagnosed headache,” they discovered four out of five patients were prescribed a controlled substance. “We were making disease instead of healing it,” says Brennan.

Increasing capacity to meet the overwhelming demand wasn’t an option. “We realized we needed to turn the problem around,” says Baggaley. “This wasn’t about increasing access, but about decreasing need.” Instead of approaching their primary care colleagues with an “it’s-your-problem, you-fix-it” attitude, they built three simple questions into the electronic health record that helped diagnose headache and created corresponding treatment protocols. “Doctors are algorithmic,” says Brennan. “We just need to empower them by giving them a tool.” They also embedded an enthusiastic primary care doctor, Karly Pippitt into the clinic to triage patients and support colleagues with phone consults.

Six months after launching the project there was a 20 percent reduction in the misdiagnosis of migraines, a 7 percent reduction in opioid prescriptions and a four-month reduction in wait times for patients referred by primary care providers within our system. “We have plenty of access,” says Michael Magill, chair of family and preventive medicine. “We’ve just clogged up our clinics with patients who don’t need to be there.”

“No one mandated we do any of this,” says Brennan, “but the institution created an opportunity for us to work on a problem we’d been concerned about for years and provided the resources we needed to solve it.”



By Jennifer Nozawa

Civil war drove 6-month-old Naima Mohamed and her family from Somalia to a refugee camp in Kenya. “When we first arrived there,” she said, “we didn’t realize that the camp would become our permanent home.” In 2006—after 15 years in the camp—Mohamed and her family were finally able to resettle in the United States. Everything in Utah, including the spoken language, was unfamiliar.Naima Mohamed

Now, in her final semester before graduating from the Master of Social Work program at the University of Utah, she said “I believe this country has all the resources that will enable me to attain the level and quality of education I seek, widening the scope of my knowledge and skills, and making it possible for me to achieve my goals.”

It took a lot of strength and tenacity to make it this far. When she first arrived in American, Mohamed enrolled as a sophomore in Salt Lake City’s East High School. “I was thrown into an environment where I could not understand anyone around me,” she said. “I did not want people to make fun of me because of my inability to converse in English. This pushed me to learn quickly.”

A volunteer from Catholic Community Services visited Mohamed’s family three times a week to help them learn English, yet she took steps to learn faster. She stayed after school nearly every day to practice English.

“My teachers were always so kind and patient when I asked them to repeat words or explain the meaning of them,” recalled Mohamed. Her work paid off, and she not only excelled in school, but was soon able to help her family communicate with their doctors.

While in high school, Mohamed was involved with the Free Minds Project, where she worked to identify system barriers that youth were facing in high school and with accessing higher education. She continued this work in the Red Flags Project, where she focused on youth experiences of racism in high schools.

“I first met Naima when she was in high school, and it is remarkable to realize that she has been so engaged with the community since a very young age,” said Rosemarie Hunter, special assistant to the president for Campus Community Partnerships and director of University Neighborhood Partners.

Upon graduating from high school in 2008, Mohamed was awarded six scholarships for college. She enrolled at the U, and in 2012, graduated with her bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies.

In 2013, Mohamed was accepted into the Master of Social Work Program, bringing along her unquenchable desire to learn and help improve the lives of others. In particular, she is concentrating her studies on global social work.

“My goal is to do research for international issues with a focus on improving quality of life and addressing injustices around the globe,” she said. “I want to develop and advocate for policy decisions that will benefit society as a whole, not just a few influential special interest groups.”

In January 2015, Mohamed began working as the coordinator for Salt Lake County’s Refugee Family Child Care Program. In addition to culturally and linguistically appropriate child care services, the program helps Utah’s refugee population learn about state and federal child care laws, regulations and licensing requirements, as well as American cultural norms surrounding child care and child development.

“As a mother of two children and coming from a different culture, I understand the needs of refugees in terms of culturally appropriate child care,” said Mohamed. For that reason, she is helping the program develop a training that will enable other women with refugee backgrounds to become licensed childcare providers in their own homes.

Advocacy isn’t new to Mohamed. Through her school work and her own desire to volunteer, she has worked with several of Utah’s refugee communities, including Burundi and Congolese groups. She also does community outreach with Utah’s community of Somali Bajuni (a little-known ethnic minority tribe from Southern Somalia, and part of Mohamed’s heritage), and serves as a resident committee member for University Neighborhood Partners.

“Naima is a heartfelt and sophisticated thinker who applies her intellect and intuition to integrate her cultural heritage with her education,” said Teresa Molina, associate director of University Neighborhood Partners. “As an individual with a Somali refugee background and as a social work professional, she offers to anyone who interacts with her an example of using one’s strengths to succeed and exploring the opportunities that immigrating to the United States brings to women.”

Mohamed reflects on her educational journey, where it has led her thus far and the people who have cheered her on along the way. In particular, she is grateful for the ongoing support of her family and her husband, Jeilani, whom she said helps her continue even when she feels like quitting.

“I would not be where I am today without their help, love and support,” she said. “My late uncle, Muhammad, inspired me to continue to strive to be the best version of myself every day.”


Jennifer Nozawa is a public relations specialist for the College of Social Work. If you have an interesting story idea, email her at jennifer.nozawa@socwk.utah.edu.

The University of Utah commencement and convocation ceremonies are held annually at the conclusion of spring semester. Candidates for graduation from the summer 2014, fall 2014, spring 2015 or summer 2015 terms may attend. Commencement will be held on Thursday, May 7, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. This year’s commencement speaker will be U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs and U alum Robert McDonald. Honorary degrees will be awarded to Anne Cullimore Decker, Henry B. Eyring and Mark Fuller. For more information, please visit the Commencement Ceremony page.


By Annalisa Purser

Each year, the University of Utah’s Office of Undergraduate Studies and the Office of Student Affairs recognizes people, programs and projects committed to creating a transformative, undergraduate educational experience.Beacons201312

The six Transforming U: Beacons of Excellence awards celebrate “best practices” found across campus, including labs, student clubs, individuals, centers and more. Since the award was created in 2012, hundreds of nominations have been submitted by students, faculty, staff and community members.

Nominations are currently being accepted and are due by Monday, April 13, at 5 p.m.

Recipients of the 2015 awards will be honored throughout the year in print and other media outlets on campus and in the community.

More information about the award and past honorees is available online.


Beacon of Excellence Montage from 2014



Annalisa Purser is a communication specialist at University Marketing and Communications. If you have an interesting story idea, email her at annalisa.purser@utah.edu.



The Graduate School is proud to announce the 2015 recipients of the Distinguished Mentor Award. The Graduate School received nominations from across campus, lauding those who serve as advisor, teacher, advocate, sponsor and role model. This year’s winners of the Distinguished Mentor Award are: Amy Bergerson, Educational Leadership & Policy; Carol Lim, Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry; and Richard Dorsky, Neurobiology.

These mentors are charged with “the success of the students who enter the sphere of their care” and do it in an outstanding and exceptional way.

“My job is simply to facilitate the actualization of that potential through sincere care for them.  My work honors those who took the time to care for me and I hope to build a community of scholars,” said Bergerson

We congratulate this year’s winners on their contribution to excellent mentorship on campus.

Recipients of the graduate student and postdoctoral scholar Distinguished Mentor Award receive an award and $2,500.

Please visit gradschool.utah.edu/mentor-award/ for more details.


Amy Bergerson


Carol Lim


Richard Dorsky


If you are interested in participating as an Emergency Assembly Point volunteer for ShakeOut 2015 on April 16, please contact Jen Stones for details at 801-585-3751 or email Jen.Stones@ehs.utah.edu.

The U would love to have you help “Drop, Cover, Hold On and Evacuate.”


Tuesday, Sept. 15 | 3-5 p.m.
Location: TVC, 615 Arapeen Drive, Suite 310, Salt Lake City
Guest Speaker: Dr. Greg Hageman, John A. Moran presidential professor and executive director of the Moran Eye Center for Translational Medicine

Are you interested in connecting with successful faculty inventors?
Would you like some assistance in acquiring industry or grant funding to further develop your ideas?
Are you planning on advancing your technology but need guidance?
Would you like an on-the-spot review of your invention?
Are you getting ready to publish and would like to discuss potential commercial applications for your invention?

Join Us at TVC’s annual open house to network with colleagues, meet your TVC team and talk your science. Enjoy refreshments and bar. There will also be valuable prize drawings for gifts and services.

This event is open to all faculty, postdocs and graduate students. To register or for more information, including an agenda and a list of exhibits, visit tvc.utah.edu/events/open_house.php.

Highlighted Events

Naomi Natale

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Tuesday, March 31 | 6-7 p.m. | FREE
Libby Gardner Concert Hall

Join The School of Music in welcoming artist and photographer Naomi Natale, the founding artist behind the “One Million Bones” project—a large-scale social arts practice that fuses education and hands-on art making to raise awareness of genocide—and the artistic director of “The Art of Revolution,” which uses art to transform public opinion and inspire social change.

A TED Senior Fellow, Natale speaks on art and activism and what one can do for the other. “Art is an incredibly powerful tool with which to build and inspire a community and to connect people with an issue in the most personal of ways, ” Natale said.

Click here for more information.



Thursday, April 2 | 6-7:30 p.m., performance at 8 p.m.
Rice Eccles Gallery Room, performance at Babcock Theatre

The April 2 performance is a fundraiser for the Department of Theatre.

Tickets are $30 or $50 for VIP, which includes food and drinks at Rice-Eccles Stadium before the showing.

General: $18
U faculty, staff and seniors age 60 and over: $15
Military and their immediate families: $15
U students FREE with Arts Pass (UCard)
Other students: $8.50
For group discounts of 20 or more call 801-585-3816
Price does not include handling or facility fees.

No refunds or exchanges


Wednesday, April 1 | 6 p.m. (reception), 7 p.m. (awards ceremony)
Goodwill Humanitarian Building, Okazaki Community Meeting Room

The College of Social Work presents the 2015 “Moving It Forward Social Justice Awards” at a ceremony April 1. The award recognizes the work of those who are dedicated to the goal of social and economic justice. Award recipients include the Public Policy Clinic in the S.J. Quinney College of Law; Ana Sanchez Birkhead, associate professor of nursing; the Graduation Preparation Institute; Carol Hollowell, community activist; and Maj. Deborah Greene, community volunteer.

April 2-3 | 7:30 p.m.
Kingsbury Hall
Utah Ballet, the resident ballet company of the University of Utah, brings this classic rags-to-riches fairy tale to life. Colorful characters abound, including the gloriously grotesque stepsisters. Featuring the dramatic score by Prokofiev, performed by the Utah Philharmonia, the production is sure to delight ballet fans of all ages.

Ticket Information:
General public: $20
U students FREE with Arts Pass (UCard)
Other students: $10
U faculty/staff: $10 with UCard

Price does not include handling or facility fees.

Additional Information:

Children under the age of 6 not permitted. No babes in arms or lap sitting allowed. All patrons must have a ticket, regardless of age.

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.


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April 2-3
James L. Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology, USTAR building

The 9th Annual Center on Aging Research Retreat will be held Thursday, April 2 and Friday, April 3.

This event is free of charge and open to all faculty, staff, students and public.

Thursday, April 2
Poster session from 3-6 p.m., presentations by students and faculty on recent aging related research.

Friday, April 3

Keynote and symposium session from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. (continental breakfast served from 7:30-8 a.m.). Please see the attached flyer and for more details, visit aging.utah.edu/2015retreat.

This year’s distinguished keynote speech, “Frailty and age-related deficit accumulation: where can we go?” will be given by Ken Rockwood, geriatrician, professor and director of Geriatric Medicine Research at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Rockwood has a longstanding interest in clinical and epidemiological aspects of frailty, delirium and dementia.

Rockwood’s presentation will be followed by a series of symposiums that will highlight effective management of comorbidities in older adults.

Thursday, April 9 | 11 a.m.
Union Ballroom
The English Language Institute at the U has hosted the world’s brightest since 1990.  ELI provides an academic-based curriculum for international students and members of the local community and university.

You are invited to ELI’s 25th Anniversary Celebration. Join us in the Union Ballroom on Thursday, April 9, at 11 a.m. for an afternoon of international music, dancing, cultural booths and light refreshments.

RSVP through our event page on Facebook. While you’re there, help us get to 1,000 “likes” for a chance to win free ELI swag.




A Healthier U

Please help the U create the most cutting-edge wellness program in the country. The university wants your views on what you, as a U employee, want and need from a wellness program.Please complete this survey and share it with your friends here at the U. For every friend you forward this survey to we will enter you into the drawing to receive one of five $100 American Express gift cards.

Click here to complete this brief survey and then forward it on to win.

Thank you for your help.


By Kate O’Farrell, M.S., PEAK Health and Fitness

Becoming your own superhero for wellness can be a refreshing perspective to help you reach your goals. Are you interested in trying something new?

Jane McGonigal, a game developer and enthusiast, has created a new way for us to look at wellness. Her perspective changed dramatically when she experienced a traumatic head injury and was confined to her bed for months. While stuck in her own body, without the ability to do much of what she loves, thoughts of suicide and depression almost overwhelmed her. Instead of letting the bad guys win, she decided to go on a quest of wellness to find her way back to happiness. She found allies or individuals that could help her on her journey. She defined her own power-ups that would give her energy and vitality – even just looking out the window counted. McGonigal found her way back to the world of wellness and she used a game to do it.

SuperBetterSince she is a game developer at heart, she decided to bring her fresh perspective on behavior change to the rest of us with a game. The best part is we are able to mimic her path without having to experience severe head trauma.

SuperBetter is an app that lets you create your own quests and to find a new way of looking at your goal setting process. You can get reminders to do your own versions of power-ups and even connect with allies to help you reach your goals.

Who knew health could be so much fun?

Here are the first four quests McGonigal recommends to boost your vitality and add years to your life.

Quest 1: Stand up and take three steps or make your hands into fists and raise them over your head for 5 seconds. You just earned +1 for physical resilience.

Quest 2: Snap your fingers 50 times or count backward from 100 by sevens. You just earned +1 for mental resilience.

Quest 3: Look outside if you are inside, inside if you are outside or think of a baby [your favorite animal] and do a Google or YouTube search for it. Cheers for +1 emotional resilience.

Quest 4: Shake someone’s hand for six seconds or send someone a quick text or email thanking them. You get +1 social resilience.

Why follow these quests? Studies show that people who regularly boost all four kinds of resilience daily live 10 years longer than everyone else.

Be sure to check out McGonigal’s TED talk. To learn more about it, click here.

Still interested? Click on this blog that provides more details.

Let’s avoid hitting our heads against the different obstacles we face in reaching our wellness and find a way to make it fun. SuperBetter may be just that tool for you. Be sure to check out the app and start your wellness quest today.

PEAK Health and Fitness wants to hear from you. Who are your allies? What power-ups build your resilience? What is your quest? Be sure to email your answers to wellness@utah.edu.

Make today epic.


You can protect your child against several cancers with a safe and effective vaccine. “The human papillomavirus is the leading cause of cervical and anal cancers. It strikes both men and women—and can be prevented through vaccinations,” says Ellie Brownstein, M.D., a pediatrician at University of Utah Health Care.

Read the full article here.

Are you on a diet? You might want to avoid watching tearjerkers. Researchers at Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab found that participants in a study as well as moviegoers at a mall ate between 28-55 percent more popcorn when they watched sad movies like “Love Story” as they did when they watched comedies like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”

Click here for the full article.

For more expert health news and information, visit healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed.